The START treaty: More reactionary liberalism

The impertinence of mere senators modifying their handiwork will scandalize the Cold War arms control clerisy, who are still with us. These custodians of humanity’s salvation, these speakers of an argot (SLBMs, ICBMs, MIRVs, etc.) more arcane to the laity than Latin was to 14th-century peasants, are marvelously unimpressed by the events of 1991. If, when the Soviet Union disappeared, Russia had disintegrated until only the Moscow metropolitan area remained, the clerisy would be earnestly negotiating arms agreements with that city’s police force.

In this era of astonishing emerging markets such as China, India and Brazil, Russia is a perverse miracle of arrested development. It is receding because it still has an essentially hunter-gatherer economy, based on extraction industries (oil, gas, minerals). Aside from vodka, what Russian-manufactured export matters? Don’t say caviar; it is extracted from sturgeon.

America’s domestic policy is bedeviled by reactionary liberalism, whose adherents resist any diminution of any entitlement. Barack Obama’s tumble into a time warp – his overinvestment in an arms agreement with the emaciated Russian bear – proves that reactionary liberalism does not end at the water’s edge.